Woods and Chalices

Woods and Chalices

Inspired by Rimbaud and Ashbery, the Slovenian poet Tomaž Šalamun is now inspiring the younger generation of American poets—and Woods and Chalices will secure his place in the ranks of influential, experimental twenty-first-century writers. Šalamun’s strengths are on display here: innocence and obscenity, closely allied; a great historical reach; and questions, commands, and statements of identity that challenge all norms and yet seem uncannily familiar and right— “I’m molasses, don’t forget that.”

Coat of Arms

The wet sun stands on dark bricks.

Through the king’s mouth we see teeth.

He sews lips. The owl moves its head.

She’s tired, drowsy and black.

She doesn’t glow in gold like she’d have to.

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  • Format: eBook

  • ISBN-13/EAN: 9780544343665

  • ISBN-10: 0544343662

  • Pages: 96

  • Price: $10.99

  • Publication Date: 09/23/2014

  • Carton Quantity: 1

Tomaz Salamun

Tomaz Salamun

Tomaž Šalamun was born in 1941 in Zagreb. He has published over thirty books of poetry and frequently teaches at American universities, including Pittsburgh, Richmond, and Texas.
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  • reviews



    "[Šalamun] remains a great postwar central European poet, which means that his work is a battle to give equal power to the cheeky voice and the soaring voice, avoiding always the obvious and the prosaically meaningful, making sure that nothing can make poetry happen, and that poetry in turn can become more important than history or politics or mere philosophy."—Colm Tóibín, The Guardian (London)


    "All of [Šalamun's work] has provocation and imaginative intensity and aesthetic risk."—Robert Hass


    "Salamun has become an influence, and a mentor, for plenty of young American poets. One reason lies in Salamun's postmodern mix of giddy and global with the earthy retrospect he takes from his homeland...[He] makes his new collection a whirlwind tour of sites and moods..." -- Publishers Weekly


    "[T]here's a music being played here--distinct rhythms, a consistently dream-like quality, a contrapuntal balance of acerbic humor and amorphous dread...you float along the poet's twisting strem, not knowing or caring where you are, where you're going or where you've been." -- Booklist

  • excerpts


    To step into the splash. To adorn oneself. I strode

    the Karst valleys and bloomed. The underworld

    is plastic and juicy. Whales dunk a little,

    shoot a little. Chile is dewy, spring

    is paper-wrapped. Girded like an ant,

    like a cadet with argil. How do you reckon this? Bruised

    like an icon? Blasted with small and large candles?

    Slices are also in the trunk, there, where

    squirrels and hornets fertilize tiny eggs. Caesar

    walks staccato. Rome crawls by your feet. Wherever

    the grape plucks, it starts to purl. The Irish saved Europe.

    They piled sagas at fire sites. Everything northern

    (Styria). There, in the forests, live char men

    with flashing eyes. They snack on the Book of Kells.



    I grew up with eggplants. I stepped

    from the truck, honey, chestnuts

    rolled in honey. The higher, grayer part

    creaked. It tottered. For a raven

    that you snatch by the legs and spin like a bundle,

    as long as it doesn’t crash into a windowpane,

    you don’t know if it hits with its back or its eyes

    closed, glued from fear. The windowpane

    is not its beak. The raven has no beak.

    The raven has only a sail with drawn-on

    seed. Stars, ricocheting into the moon’s

    glass, go out. Between the time someone’s

    in the sky and the time he burns

    in the sky is the beat of an eyelid. Water spins the logs.


    In the Tongues of Bells

    I decant a blossom. It goes before you.

    You’re filled with Uriah. Green, tiny, and pressed.

    Blueness is a furious cake, a round

    cake where yearning sleeps. Are the balls

    the balls of the earth? At wells

    and fountains? At Atlas’s pillar?

    You say that you’d be my property.

    You’d lose everything instantly.

    I still wouldn’t notice you anymore, injured.

    I choose from the thickness. Honey collects

    cries. And when the body thickens and you get up

    because I dress you, because I congeal you.

    I erase you back in the past. I draw

    a white flap, shine a white flap.


    The Clouds of Tiepolo

    The flock fell behind a hill. God

    tottered. I chased a stall. Faded

    and flew. When there’s no syrup in the eyes, there’s

    no black man in the body. Virgo is in the loaf and creels.

    She throws snowballs while standing. Plans unravel.

    Clouds are rosy, as by Tiepolo.

    As by Deacon and Aritreia. Tasso

    kills a cricket. The knot spreads and advances

    into the jacket with many and’s, as with the Danes,

    who also translated the Bible like this. And so we have

    and, and, and—no more—which the French

    don’t have. They have crouching planks there,

    they call them elegance. The bridge goes in the eyes.

    The soul in the railway. I puff, for I’m a pillar.

    The Edge From Where We Measure

    Shiva gleams on a white pansy

    and a penguin kicks the sphere. The radar

    switches off. After speed? Nothing.

    We only slept some twelve hours.

    We were eating pizzas from Santa Fe

    to Boston. Our minds sprinkled. The wheat

    cleaved. I wanted to lick you on the neck.

    What? Where? You rob the steering wheel

    and the air. You stop. You smoke

    and build a hut for little birds. Triangles,

    you split open their feet, their toes

    with the drawn-in bulbs for fingernails

    which may be a football ground, a sea

    or your screen. You inherited six of them.


    I know you toil and loiter. The mourner

    bids adieu. Her leaves’ whiteness

    recalls stalks. The graffiti of the poor

    is under the earth. The adieu has staccato poses.

    Drowns and flees. It resounds in the hut

    when you wipe off the saddle. So we have

    a wet ship and a dry rider. A worm

    from a trunk and an outline from grain. The position

    between the land and the river is wiped. The position

    is wide. The river is cold. As long as he travels

    parallel he doesn’t need a draftsman.

    But then, now will it whistle? Will there be

    a bell, will it be perforated? Will the earth

    split, as then within vineyards?


    Tiepolo Again

    The pill percolates. Methadone is technology.

    Eyes in the Sava. There will be no more white tuck-ins.

    Christ was exposed. Roe deer

    kept their paws apart. Quilts

    fluttered, and the wheat-like ones. We shelled

    tweezers. Is there always skin under

    the skin? Is the situation in the niches

    and cockroaches and in the deep

    Piranesi caves taken care of? Will lights be

    by the legs? Will the dust burn? I gather myself

Available Resources

Related Categories

  • Format: eBook

  • ISBN-13/EAN: 9780544343665

  • ISBN-10: 0544343662

  • Pages: 96

  • Price: $10.99

  • Publication Date: 09/23/2014

  • Carton Quantity: 1

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